Cross Promote Your Message

We have discussed best practices for each major social media platform using various examples. A common theme that I have found in the examples of successful social media practices is the cross promotion of these sites.

Screenshot of Starbucks Facebook page

Disney promotes their blog posts on Twitter and Facebook. They also embed their YouTube videos on their Facebook page and on their blog. Starbucks links to their Facebook, Twitter, and Google + accounts on their website, while also using an RSS feed of their recent blog posts. You can even access their Pinterest boards on Facebook. And Zappos has a live Twitter feed alongside their blog posts.

Social media sites are making cross promotion easy for their users. Pinterest gives users the option to share “pins” on Twitter and Facebook. Instagram enables users to post directly to Twitter and Facebook. And most blogging sites have a Twitter widget for live feeds.

The article “Effective Social Media Cross Promotion with Facebook” explains the importance of developing a social media strategy that cross promotes through various channels. “After everything is said and done, what you need is a social media plan that can connect your various social media pages as best as it can be done, so your fans and prospects can have the clean, simple, and engaging experience they deserve.”

The main benefit of cross promotion is that it allows an organization to reach one customer through multiple channels. The blog Recommend.ly discusses how an company can deliver multiple calls to action without appearing too intrusive to their customers.

By: Gina Cook

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IKEA Gets Personal With New YouTube Tool

As I discussed in my September 24 post, one negative video posted to YouTube can completely shatter a company’s reputation, but organizations have learned how to use this medium to their benefit. If sufficient effort is put into it, YouTube can be an effective tool in building your brand. According to Leslie Bressor, assistant account executive at Edelman Worldwide, “YouTube is a great venue for ‘how to’ videos and cause campaigns.”

International home improvement store, IKEA is a great example of how a company has innovatively used YouTube. The purpose of the IKEA USA channel is to inspire customers and future customers using how-to videos and design tips. One playlist included on their channel is “How To Build,” which contains instruction videos like how to assemble a sliding frame.

IKEA also launched a 3D Showroom. The tool uses information from Facebook and creates a virtual IKEA bedroom that can be customized by the user to create their ideal bedroom.

Screen shot of 3D Showroom

In addition to the tips for how to better broadcast yourself that I posted on September 17, here are some additional marketing strategies for YouTube:

The blog Pamorama recommends that you should find unique ways to express your brand. IKEA does this with their 3D Showroom.  The author also advises that you don’t be too promotional, but rather show your audience how to get the most out of your products or services. IKEA uses instructional videos to help their customers assemble their products. She also suggests that your videos be short. For longer videos, you can break them up into series. Then group similar videos in a playlist. To engage your audience, encourage them to submit their own ideas and content to be included in future videos.

By: Gina Cook

Tokyo Disney Doesn’t Crack Under Pressure from Earthquake Crisis

Crisis communication is one of the most important uses of social media for companies. Jonathan Bernstein of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. defines crisis as “any situation that is threatening or could threaten to harm people or property, seriously interrupt business, damage reputation or negatively impact share value. He goes on to explain in his article, “The 10 Steps of Crisis Communication,” that every organization is vulnerable to crises and if you don’t prepare for these typically unexpected events, it will cost you more in the end.

Crisis communication is even important during incidents that the company is not responsible for. Natural disasters, for example, affect the travel industry frequently and your company must be prepared to handle them effectively.

Real-time communication is key in relieving uncertainty during a crisis. It is said that Twitter is ideal for crisis communication because of its speed, mobile access, and ease of redistributing information via retweets. For travelers always on the go, social media presence is essential for organizations that want to keep up with their stakeholders’ mobility.

Tokyo Disney Resort is a textbook example of how an organization should communicate with their stakeholders during a cascading crisis. On March 11, 2011, the fifth largest earthquake ever recorded (9.0) hit Japan. The earthquake caused a tsunami on the coast, which caused flooding and loss of power, which led to explosions at a nearby nuclear power plant.

The earthquake took place approximately 230 miles northeast of Tokyo Disney Resort. Even though there were limited physical damages to the park, there was a sense of uncertainty amongst concerned guests. Holly Ann Roberts explains in her dissertation how Disney utilized three crisis response strategies to ease the uncertainty of guests through organizational communication and social media. In this post, you will see a detailed account of how Disney successfully used its various social media platforms that I discussed in my October 1st post to overcome this crisis.

Roberts outlines three message categories of crisis response: instructing information, adjusting information, and reputation management. Instructing information is used to inform stakeholders what to do to physically protect them self. Adjusting information addresses the psychological stress resulting from uncertainty. Reputation management secures the organization’s image during a crisis.

She explains how Tokyo Disney used all three message categories effectively.  Just minutes after the first quake, the park disseminated the first instruction information via a park-wide speaker announcement. They used this medium to keep guests informed of what happened, what to do to remain safe, as well as updates on the earthquake and traffic. Cast members were also informed on how to instruct guests. It was illustrated by their calm and organized manner, that Disney had effective internal communications and had properly trained their employees on how to handle such events. The resort used Twitter and blog posts to keep subscribers updated on park restoration, plans for reopening, and other supportive information about the crisis.

The following video was recorded by a guest just after the first quake. Tune in at 1:41 – 1:56 to hear Tokyo Disney’s initial park-wide announcement (in English) and the cooperation of guests and cast members.

As for adjusting information, the park reassured guests during their initial announcement that the park had been designed with earthquake safety in mind and that they would provide additional information as soon as possible. Another way they eased the uncertainty of guests was by acknowledging the cultural barriers of guests and international cast members. The park-wide messages were disseminated in various different languages to accommodate non-Japanese speaking stakeholders. Additionally, cast members provided food, water, blankets, shelter, and other means of comfort to guests. Tokyo Disney also sent out a series of email to employees providing counseling, willing to answer parents’ questions, and event offering to pay American employees’ trip home during the park’s closure.

Disney solidified their outstanding reputation by showing their priority to guests, rather than merchandise or profit as mentioned above. They also provided transparency when they released before and after photos of the damages and restorations on their blog. They also illustrated their concern and sympathy for everyone affected in the weeks following the cascading events. When the park reopened, they had limited operation hours to conserve energy in consideration for those still recovering across the nation. Walt Disney Company donated $2.5 million contribution to the Red Cross for disaster relief. Tokyo Disney Resort also donated a portion of the ticket sales just after reopening to the Japanese Red Cross. And overall, each of Disney’s messages expressed heart-felt sympathy and concern for those affected from their first park-wide announcement to their continuous philanthropic plan.

With the overlapping use of instruction information, adjusting information, and reputation management, Tokyo Disney Resort and Walt Disney Company were able to ensure the safety and well-being of their guests, as well as solidify their reputation and brand loyalty. Positive comments on their various social media platforms by guests and concerned followers, illustrate their effective crisis communications.

By: Gina Cook

Disney Resorts Master Brand Loyalty Through Social Media

Charisse Jones and Roger Yu wrote from USA Today wrote an article in 2010 about how the travel industry is using social media to reach their consumers. The authors said, “Hotels, airlines and other segments of the multibillion-dollar travel industry are aggressively tapping into social media, ramping up their use of online sites such as Facebook and Twitter to build loyalty to their brands.”

They go on to explain how companies in the travel industry also utilize YouTube, blogs, and social-mapping networks to cultivate new customers. “Airlines are maintaining a presence on YouTube and offering deals through social-mapping networks such as Loopt. Hotels are promoting their properties through bloggers, and they’re using social-networking sites to gather feedback, monitor trends and provide concierge services.”

Jones and Yu give several examples of successful companies who optimize their brand management through social media. Hyatt Hotels for example uses their Twitter account as a virtual concierge by responding to guests’ requests and questions within one hour. Queries range from guests alerting that they will be late to check in to questions about what restaurant to go to.  Also, Marriott launched a social media campaign that encouraged followers to spread the word about one of their new chains in exchange for Marriott rewards.

In examining the prominence of social media, the authors advise, “a social-media presence has become essential for any company that wants to bond with a younger generation that will hopefully remain loyal for years.” By building relationships and engaging young customers through their preferred channels, they will remain loyal to that brand throughout their life.

One company that is known for having mastered brand loyalty is Disney. It seems as though Disney utilizes almost every Web 2.0 platform available. Their Facebook page creates dialogues with fans about vacation topics, such as “Yay or Nay? I let my kids plan our days at Walt Disney World.” They also post photos of guests with Disney park characters and tidbits of historical information about the park or the company. They also post several links to videos uploaded to their YouTube channel and articles on their blog.

Disney Park’s official YouTube channel has videos that serve various purposes. There are video series that promote upcoming events, such as Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, as well as community service events that Disney sponsors, like VoluntEARS at CANstruction. The channel also includes promotional videos for their resorts and timeshares. One of the most interesting types of videos that Disney posts for their viewers are behind-the-scenes looks, from new attractions to meet the casts. One of the most recent is a video about the Disneyland Resort announcers, tune in at 1:39 to hear about how working for Disneyland is their dream job.

Not only does Disney upload their videos to YouTube, but they also embed these videos to their Disney Parks Blog. On this blog, subscribers can find official information about Disney vacation destination, participate in various Disney vacation discussions, and see more behind-the-scenes.

Disney’s official Twitter account also links to their blog quite frequently. In addition to their linking to articles from their blog, Disney also utilizes Twitter to recommend places to eat and shop, highlight events, give advice from Disney characters, and feature new attractions.

Disney can also be found on the growing popular site Pinterest. Although, they have many “boards” and “pins,” I am not sure they have succeeded yet in using this site to manage their brand or engage customers.

Overall, Disney has optimized their presence on various social media sites, which has helped them maintain brand loyalty.

By: Gina Cook

One Video Can Ruin A Reputation, But One Video Cannot Rebuild It

It can take just one blog post, one Facebook status, one tweet, or one online video to completely shatter your company’s reputation once it goes viral. Ironically though, one social media apology by the company will not help you save face.

Dave Carroll illustrates how his YouTube music video “United Breaks Guitars” had the power to turn an entire company upside down. After United Airlines broke the musician’s guitar in checked luggage and he received terrible customer service while trying to get compensated, Carroll turned to songwriting. He wrote a song about his experience and posted the music video to YouTube. His story changed social media customer service forever. Companies learned that the power of one voice on social media can completely destroy a brand’s reputation.

It takes more than just one apology video to repair a damaged reputation like that though. As discussed in previous posts, it is important to connect with your consumers through their desired social channels, especially in the light of a customer service mistake. The buck can’t stop there. An apology video posted to YouTube should only be the start.

Media columnist Simon Dumenco discusses how companies tend to use the “social apology” scapegoat so often that there should be an entire YouTube channel dedicated to them. His point is that they are overdone and do not solve the problem at hand. Rather, companies should engage their consumers in conversation and monitor what is being said about them in the social media world. When they find a disgruntled customer, they should respond to them personally and try to resolve or compensate whatever issue he or she has. Building such relationships with the public will ultimately have a positive effect on your brand’s image.

By: Gina Cook

Eight Tips for How to “Broadcast Yourself”

Online videos are revolutionizing media consumption worldwide. By far, the most used online video-sharing website is YouTube. In order to keep up with their consumers, businesses must be equipped to share their own videos. YouTube provides several best practices for businesses to reach and better understand their target audience. Their tips have been summarized here for your convenience:

  1. It is important that you create content that your audience will find useful. That is the whole reason they will be visiting your site. Examples of useful videos include product showcases, product demonstrations, how-to videos, case studies, and events.
  2. Utilize titles, descriptions, and tags for search engine optimization (SEO). If you use the right keywords, your videos will come up when users are searching the web.
  3. It is also essential that you keep videos up to date with regular uploads. This will help build your credibility.
  4. Make it easy for your company to be found. You can do this by including the link to your website in your video description and by embedding videos on your company website as well as your social media sites.
  5. Utilize YouTube’s advertising capabilities. In order to be successful, you must first know what your audience is searching for and watching on YouTube. Then adapt your existing TV ads to run on those channels. Your advertisement can take the form of pre-roll ads, in-video interactive ads, or click-to-play ads.
  6. Build your brand on YouTube by creating your very own YouTube channel. You can customize your channel to match your brand. By upgrading to Brand Channel, you can have access to additional customization capabilities. Then take part in the conversation with subscribers to your channel. It may also help to subscribe to similar channels.
  7. Track, analyze, and improve viewership because there is always room for improvement.
  8. Integrate YouTube as part of your marketing strategy.

Watch this short video to see how other companies, from ceiling tiles to toy manufacturers, have grown their business through the use of YouTube:

By: Gina Cook